Local Economy Looking Good Wellington Council Told

3 December 2013

The Capital City’s economy is showing definite signs of recovery and transformation, the first meeting of Wellington City Council’s new Economic Growth and Arts Committee has been told today.

In a presentation titled Understanding Wellington’s Economy, the committee was told that:

  • an estimated 5,600 jobs were created in the Wellington region in 2012-13
  • unemployment in Wellington City is dropping steadily – the figure is now 6.7% compared to 7.9% in December 2012
  • according to top local commercial estate companies, there is a waiting list for prime office space in the city – and the time is right for significant commercial building development
  • local GDP growth is trending upward, in line with national trends.

Mayor Celia Wade-Brown and Councillor Jo Coughlan, the Chair of the Economic Growth and Arts Committee, say it was refreshing and exciting to receive the good news about economic trends.

Mayor Wade-Brown says the presentation by the Council’s Senior Research and Evaluation Adviser, Jim Robertson, “emphasised what many observers already know – that the city is consolidating its reputation as a place where talent wants to live – especially talent involved in the creative and IT industry."

And Cr Coughlan says the presentation was nicely backed up by the release today of census data by Statistics NZ – that showed Wellington is the richest and most educated city in the country.

Median income for Wellington City is $37,900 as opposed to the regional number of $32,700. The percentage of people with a bachelor’s degree or higher is 40.6%. Both numbers are the highest in the country.

The median income in the Wellington region is $32,700, the highest of all regions in New Zealand, an increase of 16.8 per cent since 2006.

Greater Wellington also has the highest proportion of people with university degrees, 28 per cent of people have a degree or equivalent. This is a five per cent jump from the 2006 census and eight points above the national average of 20 per cent.

Cr Coughlan says the report presented this morning validates the Council’s Economic Strategy confirmed in 2011. “Our aim is for the city to create 10,000 jobs over the next few years. It looks like we are well on the way there - to recovery and an expansion of the local economy.”

She says while Wellington City Council “obviously” can’t create the jobs itself, the Council can certainly do a lot to create the conditions that attract investment and talent. “Our new Chief Executive is working with us on a set of priorities that will help boost the local economy.”

The priorities include:

  • a Film Museum
  • international air connections – and a possibly airport runway extension
  • a tech precinct
  • new and bigger conference and concert facilities
  • the Council being open for business
  • a Miramar framework
  • better land transport options
  • being a liveable city.